Vertical Growing

We're Growing UP!

(Mission, TX) – This year, the National Butterfly Center has resolved to use less water.  It may not be sexy, but it sure is important in a land where drought and resource conservation are common themes.  As part of this effort, we will be converting our traditional, flat-growing Nursery to a more efficient vertical one—and gaining room to grow more in the process!

“For a few years, now, we’ve been struggling with space issues in our native plant nursery,” explains Marianna Trevino Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center.  “We desperately needed to expand, to increase our production capacity, but could not afford to expand the nursery in its current form.  Elevated beds that protect plants from pests, prevent rooting, and allow for proper drainage can be expensive to build and they leave a large footprint; so, we found ourselves facing the same sort of problems that urban gardeners often face, where resources are limited and every square foot of growing space comes at a premium.  This realization led us to an “urban” solution.”Vertical growing systems are just what they’re called: vertical; instead of growing plants in horizontal rows, one grows in columns that may reach the sky.  Growing plants in this manner uses 1/10th the water of a traditional system, as drip irrigation literally trickles down, from one planter to another. There is no overspray, no need for saturation, no run-off and no water waste. The vertical system also keeps plants high enough to avoid slugs and snails, as well as animals that may menace a garden when no one is watching.

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Web-size winner

Rio Grande Valley Resident Wins North American Butterfly Photo Contest!

(Mission, TX) – Kenny Salazar, amateur photographer and resident of the Rio Grande Valley, won the 2013 North American Butterfly Photo Contest, with his photo of not one, but two, butterflies familiar to South Texas. Salazar's photo was chosen from among hundreds of entries in this international contest that is open to anyone of any age, no matter where they live, so long as the photo of a live, free-flying butterfly is taken in North America.

When asked how he became interested in photography, Salazar explains, “My senior year of high school I had to choose an elective. Black and white photography class seemed like an easy 'A', so I signed up. I discovered I had a knack for it and I was hooked. Although I've been taking snapshots since I was 18, it wasn't until 5 years ago that photography became a passion for me. I was given a Digital SLR for my 40th birthday by my wife and I haven't stopped taking pictures since!”

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Spike Bday

Spike is Turning 11!

(Mission, TX) – You're invited to Spike's birthday party, Sunday, December 15, at 2 pm, at the National Butterfly Center! A yearlong resident of the garden, Spike is a giant African Spurred Tortoise, whose birthday we celebrate at the anniversary of his adoption.

Abandoned after 10 years when his boy went to college, Spike was picked up by Animal Control and surrendered to a local sanctuary. The sanctuary owner first suggested Spike come live at the National Butterfly Center, where he has become a very large part of the youth education and wildlife conservation program.

“We call Spike 'the world's most spectacular non-butterfly', states Marianna Trevino Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center. “He's huge and very friendly, so everyone loves him. He enjoys all the attention he receives, here, and he's an excellent visual aid for teaching children all the things that butterflies have in common with reptiles, and why South Texas is home to so many of both!”

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Founder of the North American Butterfly Association to Appear at 18th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival

(Mission, TX) — Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg, geneticist, conservationist, and founder of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), will lead a tour of the grounds and gardens at the National Butterfly Center, on Tuesday, November 5, to close out the five-day festival.

The National Butterfly Center is located in Mission, Texas, the butterfly capitol of the country. This pilot project of NABA was conceived in 1995, when Dr. Glassberg first imagined creating a place dedicated to public education and conservation of wild butterflies. While leading a butterflying tour in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, he stumbled upon the beautiful, old, abandoned Oblate Monastery, and thought: This would make a fantastic butterfly center!

“Upon leaving the monastery, the tour group and I went in search of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce,” explains Glassberg. “There we encountered Viola Espinosa, and shared the idea with her. Instead of laughing at us, she embraced the concept.


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Chefs' Imaginations Take Flight for the 18th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival Banquet

(Mission, TX) – Showcasing the very best of the Rio Grande Valley's rich landscape, colorful produce and fantastic flavors, members of the RGV Chapter of the Texas Chefs Association (TCA) will be creating culinary experiences for everyone attending the 18th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival.

Texas' Chef of the Year, Chef Santiago “Jimmy” de la Cruz, is currently the Executive Chef at The Club at Cimarron, and Director of the RGV Chapter of TCA. Under his leadership, this association of talented, trained professionals has grown with the goal of promoting their craft by providing truly exceptional dining at local establishments. Undaunted by the prospect of feeding more than 100 festival participants over three days of special events, Chef Jimmy and the RGV Chapter of the TCA jumped at the chance to impress our guests—many of whom will be visiting deep South Texas for the first time, in pursuit of butterflies, birds and native wildlife species.

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Inside the National Butterfly Center

Hours of Operation

September - March
8:00 - 5:00

April - August
8:00 - 5:00

Come See Us

National Butterfly Center
3333 Butterfly Park Drive
Mission, TX 78572
GPS Coordinates:
26.180243 -98.364973

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